Recently I visited Polpo for dinner, which is by far one of my favourite dining spots. POLPO is a bàcaro. This is a Venetian word to describe a humble restaurant serving simple food and good, young Italian wines. They offer tasty small plates, Prosecco and Spritz in a setting that reflects the gloriously faded elegance of Venice, and the charms of its backstreet wine bars. It really is a very pretty bar. Perfect for a date night or sharing plates with larger groups. Locations have popped up all over the UK. I visited the Clerkenwell branch but they also have locations Soho, Covent Garden, Smithfield, Chelsea and Notting Hill in London, as well as in Brighton and Bristol.
You might be thinking, is it possible to eat Italian on the Low FODMAP diet? Well I’m here to let you know that there are some great low FODMAP options at Polpo, so it is possible…
Polpo Low FODMAP
Not only is the food delicious but I have to say they have the most extensive allergy menu I have seen! You have to ask for it from the waiter but it highlights food that contains gluten, dairy, garlic, vegan, vegetarian, egg, alcohol, shellfish, crustaceans, nuts, celery- the list is extensive! The only thing I was really missing that I needed to know about was onion!! The manager was lovely and kind enough to sit down with me and go through the menu to show me what contained onion and what didn’t. We all know how awkward it can be trying to adapt to how restrictive this diet is but they were very welcoming.
My favourite part of the experience was that their gluten free options they simply swap for polenta, which means it still feels like you are eating the same food as the rest of your party – to be fair I actually preferred it as it still had a crunch but felt lighter in some way than other deep-fried floury food.
To start I had a Potato and Parmesan croquette which was covered in Polenta. This was a smaller dish – only two pieces, but delicious.
As the concept of this restaurant is sharing platters the food arrives throughout your meal, when it’s ready.
Then my two salads arrived: the Zucchini (courgette), Parmesan and Basil Salad – I have to say I have eaten this a number of times at Polpo and also ripped-off the recipe to make at home on many occasion. The rawness of the zucchini adds for a really nice flavour and a simple dressing of Olive oil and Parmesan is really tasty.
I also had the Fennel, Green Bean and Hazelnut Salad. This was probably my least favourite dish if I’m honest. It may have just been my personal taste but I found the dressing too sharp – I think it was slightly too much lemon. If you like that kind of thing though it’s a pretty and a light dish.
Finally was the Fritto Misto which again they made with polenta on the outside to ensure it was gluten free. This was hands down my favourite dish and I was slightly gutted I was getting a bit full (the salads are big FYI, bigger than I’d consider a side…I probably should have just ordered one). The Fritto Misto included prawns, zucchini, octopus, squid and white fish, all covered with a lovely crisp polenta and served with fresh lemon.
All in all, Polpo provided us with a delicious meal and I was very pleased with the level of service. I should also say if you are looking for any cook books this year for gifts, theirs is gorgeous and I have it stacked in my kitchen. Whilst it’s not low in FODMAPs, the recipes can be adapted fairly easily. Or simply buy it for loved ones and convince them to visit the restaurant with you after. The artwork cover is stunning.
Where have you been eating lately? Have you found it easy to adapt to the low FODMAP diet when eating out?
If you’d like other recommendations of where to eat, check out my page dedicated to restaurant recommendations.